There is no doubt about the fact that modern TVs have improved greatly in the 4K era in terms of picture quality, beauty, and features. However, while improving their appearance, manufacturers often compromise their sound quality.
Today’s TVs sport small bodies and thin bezels, which means they don’t have enough room for large speakers that can move a lot of air. In fact, the speakers held by today’s TVs are pushed to the back or bottom. Naturally, downward-firing speakers don’t sound as clear to you as forward-firing speakers.
This makes it necessary for users to look for other options to make their TV sound better, including sometimes looking directly for better sound TVs, or adding one of the best soundbars to their setup. But those aren’t always necessary – so let’s look at all your options, from doing the most you can to adding a new solution to the problem.
1. Try adjusting your TV settings
The easiest way to start is to check your device’s audio settings. We tend to overlook that area and it’s possible that your audio dissatisfaction can be fixed by changing just a few settings. It can be helpful to cycle through the modes to see which one best suits your needs. If the sound of people talking is too muffled for you, you may want to switch to a speech-enhancing mode, for example – check out Dialog or Speech mode.
Some TVs, such as the LG C2, have an enhanced AI mode that makes the most of how their internal speakers are designed, and this can be better than using ‘Dolby Atmos mode’ or ‘Movie mode’.
Other settings include making sure your bass isn’t turned all the way up. Heavy bass tends to pollute the sound by affecting its clarity. You can use the bass slider to turn it down and see if that fixes anything. Similarly, try increasing the treble to see if it improves the speech. High treble often results in clearer conversation. Or you might want to try the reverse – adding more bass to make movies sound fuller.
You can always play with presets on your device such as Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Loud Sound, etc. etc.
2. Consider buying a sound bar
If fiddling with the audio settings on your existing TV doesn’t work for you, your best bet is to invest in a sound bar. Doing so will ensure that the level of immersion you get in terms of audio matches the video. A sound bar also takes up much less space than a surround sound system and is easier on your pocket. Tons of options available on the market cater to different budgets.
I Sony HT-S400 is an example of an affordable soundbar with a subwoofer. It comes with a lower price tag, but you won’t get Dolby Atmos support. Therefore, don’t expect the kind of sound a local sound bar can have. Although, for its price, the HT-S400 offers excellent sound quality and an attractive body.
I Samsung HW-Q800A is good as a medium choice. With an attractive body, this sound bar has a powerful and immersive sound. Its bass is very powerful, all thanks to its subwoofer. In terms of connectivity, the HW-Q800A sports eARC passthrough, thus, promising a hassle-free setup. It also facilitates digital communication, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Samsung HW-Q990B it’s our choice for a high-end sound bar with Dolby Atmos. It features brilliant sound quality and great connectivity. The HW-Q990B packs one HDMI eARC, two HDMI, and one digital optical port with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity options as well. For more tips, feel free to check out our guide on The best Dolby Atmos sound bars.
3. Stereo speakers are a great option
Another great option is stereo speakers that sport an HDMI connection. The stereo speakers take your audio experience up a notch by delivering a wide and deep sound, well-tuned to music. And some find they look better than a sound bar.
The $1,399 KEF LSX II pair serve as a great option to upgrade your audio setup. As for connectivity, they sport HDMI ARC, USB-C, Ethernet, analog, and digital inputs. The LSX II delivers bright mids, rich bass, and detailed highs.
If you are looking for something higher, KEF’S LS50 Wireless II is one of our top picks in that category. Priced at $2500 per pair, these speakers are not something that many can afford. But they certainly appreciate their value. They are very well built, provide excellent sound quality, and facilitate a hassle-free setup with an HDMI eARC port. Our guide to Excellent stereo speakers can help you choose the perfect speakers.
4. Not all TVs have bad sound
Fortunately, there are some TVs that display decent sound without the help of external devices. Samsung’s QN900B Neo QLED 8K TV is one of them. Using surround-facing speakers, the QN900B delivers excellent sound with clear dialogue, and good positioning for on-screen action.
Some TVs, such as the Philips OLED + 907 and OLED + 937, or the Panasonic LZ2000, have speakers built into the front of the TV units – large, appropriate speakers that burn in the front.
How can we talk about loud TVs and not mention them Sony A95K, and the more affordable Sony A80K. These use Acoustic Surface Technology, which means their entire screen doubles as speakers. As a result, they have an incredibly direct sound and powerful range. Check out our guide on good sound TVs some suggestions.
5. Invest in an AV receiver and surround sound system
If sound bars and stereo speakers aren’t your thing, you always have the option of choosing an AV receiver or surround sound system for your room. An AV receiver uses a digital sound system to enhance the sound of the source(s) it is connected to by using audio equalization and reducing interference between the speakers and the room. The surround sound system uses multiple speakers placed throughout the room to deliver an immersive experience. It also uses a subwoofer for extra bass and a cinematic feel.
We recommend the Denon AVR-X2700H as an advanced AV receiver for many people. In terms of audio formats, it includes Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Atmos, DTS:X and DTS Virtual:X. It also sports support for eARC, Dynamic Refresh Rate, Fast Frame Transfer, and Auto Low Latency Mode for each HDMI port. All your usual HDR formats like HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision are also present and accounted for. Check out our guide on the best AV receivers some suggestions.
The IQ Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack is our recommendation for one of the best surround sound systems out there. It offers excellent bass extension and detailed mids. The dome ring that holds it allows it to look amazingly clear and smooth on the surface. For more tips, check out our guide on the best surround sound system.
As with most things like this, it all comes down to your budget and priorities. If you believe that your TV just needs a little shake and you don’t have the budget to invest in extra gear, you can easily play with the presets on your device. If that doesn’t help, soundbars are a great investment to consider. They don’t require a lot of space and cater to customers of all budgets.
If both money and space are not an issue, going for stereo speakers can add a wonderful world of depth to your room in a classy way. And if you are indeed serious about audio, invest in a surround sound system for the full cinematic experience.